Another town I passed en-route was Črna na Koroškem. Also close to the border and having a long and profitable ironworking history, it was the largest and busiest place I’d seen all day. Nevertheless, with a population of not much more than two thousand, it was easy to navigate my way in and out of town along its one main road.
Perhaps being a Friday afternoon and only four kilometres from the border, I was soon accompanied by more traffic than I’d seen along more than 200 kilometres of Slovenian road to date. Despite the unwanted company I had only 30 kilometres to travel, not much more than an hour’s riding-in theory anyway. But finding our accommodation at Guest House Ravnjak, in the somewhat remote village of Sele, was like trying to find a veritable needle in a haystack. And there were plenty of them along the way to pick from.
Eventually, after seeking directions from an assortment of passing motorists, I arrived, not at my destination, but the six kilometres of gravel road that would lead me there. Riding uphill on 23mm tyres is a difficult prospect, but on gravel it is decidedly worse. The only sign of bitumen was out the front of each of the houses I passed. Remote countryside and the houses that inhabit them being as beautiful as they are, tend to be a few hundred metres apart. That’s not much bitumen along the way when you think about it.
But all things reach their conclusion, even the bad things. On finally arriving very late and very tired at our accommodation - a beautiful home, with the backdrop a high forest-covered mountain - our sympathetic host offered to cook us dinner. Obviously aware that the prospect of returning along the same road-the only choice available-was not a choice we were looking forward to, we at least finished what had been a long day, enjoying a hearty three-course meal and local red wine.
Not the easiest of cycling days, tomorrow would have to be better. And it was!
Books by Mark Krieger:
‘High Spain Drifter’ is available on Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Booktopia and other online bookstores.
‘Lycra, Lattes and the Long Way Round’ is available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books
Both books are also available at local bookshops on the Mornington Peninsula: @ Rosebud Bookbarn and @ La Brocante